Chapter

Zombies, dog men and dragons: generic hybridity and gender crisis in British horror of the new millennium

Linnie Blake

in The Wounds of Nations

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780719075933
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700914 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719075933.003.0030
Zombies, dog men and dragons: generic hybridity and gender crisis in British horror of the new millennium

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This chapter addresses some concerns of British horror cinema with specific reference to an extraordinary proliferation of what Noël Carroll would term ‘fusion monsters’, represented in various films. In each of these highly self-reflexive films a new kind of ‘fusion hero’ can also be seen to emerge: one who undertakes a hybridisation of earlier models of British masculinity in his mission to conquer the monster and become a man. Thus, in new millennial British horror one can also see not only a tendency to parody and pastiche earlier horror texts but a will to explore earlier models of British masculinity—specifically those drawn from Britain's imperial past. As such, attitudes to women are highly significant in each of these films. Thus a new form of masculine identity can be seen to emerge from the ruins: one that is simultaneously hard-hitting and gentle, innovative and steady, decisive and compassionate. British horror of the new millennium not only points to the traumatised nature of the contemporary British male self-image but to the ways in which it is possible to work through the horror and, in so doing, become a new kind of man. Various examples of films are also presented that are indicative of the patterns followed in British cinema.

Keywords: British masculinity; British horror cinema; new millennium; fusion monsters; Britain's imperial past; Noël Carroll; self-reflexive films

Chapter.  10138 words. 

Subjects: Film

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